based on "Henry" - A Ballad for Piano and Voice by George Bridgetower

commissioned by the Houston Symphony

The Bridgetower Variations is a work that was born from a project aimed at reviving the legacy of George Bridgetower, a black prodigy violinist and composer from the classical period. As is the case with many historically underrepresented composers, much of Bridgetower's work was lost to history. Two this day only two of his works survive yet both remain in relative obscurity. 

The project started by seeking to revive Bridgetower's "Henry" - A Ballad for Piano and Voice as an orchestral arrangement to be premiered by the Houston Symphony in September of 2021. Due to extenuating circumstance, the arrangement was cut from its premiering concert after a hurricane forced the cancellation of several rehearsals. Although this was an unfortunate turn, it opened the door for the project to take on a new shape.

With the goal of rescheduling in place, the piece was altered from an arrangement to a new original work based upon the musical material from the ballad. Upon that premise, the Bridgetower Variations came to be and was premiered by the Houston Symphony in March of 2021. The work tells the story of Bridgetower's legacy battle with his contemporary and friend Beethoven as well as the aftermath of Bridgetower's lost voice and the history leading up to his revival. The work explores the complex process of racialization in the classical music canon through the dialogue between modernism and classical period idioms. In the end, the works speaks towards a message of hope and triumph to overcome the inequities of our world.

Contact to order score and parts for both works.